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Stakeholder engagement in the governance of marine migratory species: barriers and building blocks

Rachel Lynn Miller*, Helene Marsh, Claudia Benham, Mark Hamann

*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Meaningful stakeholder engagement is important to collaborative decision-making and to effective polycentric governance, particularly when managing cross-scale environmental issues like those involving marine migratory species. In this paper, we explore the barriers to, and opportunities for, stakeholder involvement in the governance of threats to marine migratory species in eastern Australia, using semi-structured, qualitative interviews and a focus group, as an example of the generic problem of managing migratory species within a large range state with multiple jurisdictions. Respondents identified several barriers to, and opportunities for, improved stakeholder involvement in the governance of marine migratory species, corresponding to four main themes: decision-making processes, information sharing, institutional structures, and participation processes. Respondents indicated that the governance system protecting marine turtles, dugongs, humpback whales, and non-threatened migratory shorebirds in eastern Australia would benefit from the introduction of new information pathways, reformed institutional structures (including environmental legislation), and improved participatory pathways for non-government stakeholders. Such changes could help harmonise the process of managing these species, leading to more effective conservation management throughout their range.